One of the biggest expenses to most companies today is the healthcare expenses of the workforce, and so, employers are working on strategies to improve employee health and reduce all-around costs. Organizations are implementing employee wellness programs and integrating the principles of lifestyle-changing interventions into everyday routines to help their employees lead a disease-free healthy life.
A good wellness program should boost employee engagement, workplace health, and overall organizational productivity.
Workplace Wellness Programs and Disease Prevention
Most of the time, health disorders are a result of toxic lifestyle habits, including unhealthy eating, smoking, alcohol consumption, lack of sleep, and not enough physical activity – all of which can be influenced and changed through employee wellness programs. In the US alone, almost $300 billion is spent annually on smoking-related health issues costs, whereas $117 billion is spent per year on overall healthcare expenses, with diabetes and cardiac ailments topping the charts.
A well-designed corporate wellness program can be tailored to engage employees, and meet their specific health and wellness needs.
Rewards and Incentives
A successful wellness program is one in which all the employees engage and reap its benefits, giving positive outcomes. Rewards and incentives are one of the best employee engagement strategies that encourage participation and the probability of strong results. Providing small incentives to employees who have completed specific tasks, or reached the set milestones motivates them to participate and reach their wellness goals.
The most common rewards and incentives offered by most companies are –
- eGift cards
- Low healthcare premiums
- Cash rewards and reimbursements
- HSA (Health savings account) contributions
However, with time and wellbeing requirements, the idea of employee rewards and incentives has changed. In addition to the above, the other common incentives to be included in workplace wellness programs are –
- Flexible working schedules
- Childcare/Eldercare facilities
- Student loan reimbursements
- Paid vacations
These rewards and incentives can be set by the wellness program admin by creating reward campaigns, based on the organization’s financial resources, budget, workforce interests, wellness activities, and other organizational factors. With health-contingent programs, you can offer outcome-based incentives.
Cigna’s Study Report
Cigna Corporation, a globally popular health service, works to help people achieve holistic health by offering personalized solutions, along with a series of health services. A 3-year wellness study conducted by them on employees enrolled in 28 employer-sponsored plans, concluded that – offering the right incentives to the workforce through employee wellness programs enhances employee engagement, wellness results, and lowered medical costs by 10%. For employees who were suffering from 2 or more chronic health conditions like type-2 diabetes and cardiac issues, the medical cost savings were almost 13%.
With access to desirable incentives, the employees showed increased engagement in the activities and wellness challenges, resulting in better health outcomes. According to the study, the employees who were offered engagement incentives –
- Had double the chances of setting and achieving their wellness goals
- Almost 30% of them were more likely to successfully complete their HRA and biometric screenings.
The results of the individual biometric indicators of employees offered with incentives through the program concluded that the likelihood was –
- 6 times more to achieve the BMI target
- 45% more reach cholesterol levels target
- 5 times more to meet the normal blood pressure target
- 30% more to regulate normal blood sugar target levels
These results, compared to the programs where employees were not offered any incentives, proved that financial incentives and rewards play a major role in employee engagement through wellness programs and reduce healthcare costs.
The Cigna study, along with many other studies has demonstrated that with fitting customized employee engagement strategies, incentives, and disease management modules, organizations can boost their workplace wellness outcomes, reduce their healthcare costs, and improve their overall business ROI.
Also, by offering the right digital health tools, fitness device and app integrations, and other innovative on-site health solutions through their wellbeing programs, as Wellness360 does, companies can support their employees through their personal holistic wellness journey.